Religion unlike the simple bible tutelage of Winnie, takes a darker hue in Verdi's Don Carlo. Here the Church rules Spain and King PHilippe with an iron hand. The grand inquisitor in his red robes is the devil himself as he counsels the King to kill his own son Carlo to save the country. Phillip himself has launched a campaign of death against Flanders.
The singing was sensational. Roberto Alagna was Don Carlo, Ferruccio Furlanetto was outstanding as the King. His aria where he laments that his Queen never loved him was moving to the point of tears.
Anna Smirnova as the scheming Princess Eboli was splendid as the scheming and wounded tiger once Carlo rejected her love.
The star of the opera was truly Marina Poplavskaya, her lines were exquisite and pure and her regal bearing a delight to watch. She was sensational, as she sang if angels weep for her in heaven in the final scene in the monastary before the tomb of Charles V, I was half expecting angels to weep.
Simom Keenlyside was Rodrigo, Carlo's friend. He was wonderful. When he sang his dying aria and urged Carlo to be the hero and the saviour of Flanders I was in tears. He gave his life for his friend.
The Church was menacing and in Act III the King appears before the church. There is a scene where some heretics are to be burned at the stake. There is no mercy here, as with the Grand Inquisitor there is no mercy, The act ends with the King and Queen watching the flames burn the heretics.
Unlike Winnies God who accepts sinners and saves them, the God of Don Carlo and the Catholic Church is merciless and crushes all who oppose him, be it by flame, intrigue or sword.
4 1/2 hours of bliss!!
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